Surf Trendreport: Technological trends that span education and ICT, SURF, November 2016

An worthwhile insight is given in this report of the possible  consequences for higher education of the main developments in ICT. 13 trends in higher education are formulated. The common theme of the report is described by the authors as:

“This trend report describes thirteen technological trends that have a clear, three-pronged common theme.” The trends are numbered  1-13. In the report the 13 separate trends are described clearly into more details..Technologies that contribute to the enrichment of teaching and learning
‘Firstly, a number of trends lead to the enrichment of teaching and learning. Thanks to the sensory experience it provides, (1) virtual reality can, for example, facilitate interactive learning in authentic learning situations. The same applies to the use of (2) serious games. (3) Gamification offers opportunities for providing feedback and encouraging self-management in that students can earn badges that act as milestones.

Digital assessment allows students to obtain feedback immediately and gives them a better idea of their progress. The (5) virtual classroom also enhances interactive and collaborative learning without students and lecturers having to be physically present in a single location. Although many lecturers still regard a virtual classroom session as ‘nothing to do with them’, this learning technology, in conjunction with digital assessment, probably comes closest to the way we are used to learning within our education system. Rather than a drastic change, then, it is an improvement.’

‘Technologies that facilitate the incorporation of flexibility in education
Secondly, we see the incorporation of flexibility in education, which ‘blurs boundaries’. Students are increasingly studying different programmes within the same institution, at different institutions (both within the Netherlands and abroad) and outside the traditional higher education system. They can follow programmes that incorporate (8) open pedagogy and courses that are rewarded with (7) microcredentials (such as massive open online courses). Microcredentials and digital badges allow students to utilise the knowledge and skills they have acquired in different contexts. These technologies demonstrate that students have also developed their skills beyond the traditional education system.

Students undergo a wide range of online and offline learning activities to develop an (6) online education identity – in effect a personalised education number that they can use throughout their lives. The educational institution’s monopoly over the awarding of qualifications is definitely a thing of the past.’

Technologies that facilitate adaptive learning
‘Thirdly (and lastly), a number of technologies enable (10) adaptive learning. This includes both highly advanced applications that could play a key role in the long term and technologies that enable a certain amount of ‘adaptivity’ in the short term. (13) Artificial intelligence is an example of an advanced application. Here, students follow personalised learning paths based on the digital traces they leave in online learning environments. One example of a simpler application is (12) digital assessment combined with (11) learning analytics. Another example is the (9) personalised learning environment that gives individual students access to the applications they use for learning purposes.’

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